Garden of Steel Magnolias

Dreams from the trash

Although this ad is to encourage recycling, I started listening to the words. It transfixed me.  My family wondered why I was recording a recycling ad.  But listen with me: “They told me I was a piece of  trash and that is all I would ever be. . . a bottle couldn’t see the ocean . . . give up and go back to the dumpster.”

There are people told this every day.  I was one of them.  Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not important enough to have dreams. Dumb and ugly should know its place and stay there.  I refused, in little ways at first, but louder and bolder as I grew up.

It took years for me to dream, and more to feel I deserved to dream, but, much like that little plastic bottle, I have gotten there.

I wonder if the creators of the ad had any thought of deeper layers in  the words–of talking about people as well as plastic.  Life is recycling, after all, changing, growing, re-inventing oneself.

Am I  odd  alone in seeing this ad and thinking of all the “disposable” people in the world? Is it just my childhood memories coloring my vision?


Sticks and Stones, or, Words Do Hurt

All my life, I have despised the common saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I have always revised the second clause to “but words may break my spirit.”  While I try not to let what people say hurt me, I am not always completely successful.  I often work my way through the hurt, but that is not the same.

Tia Bach wrote this thoughtful post about how people will say anything.  She mentioned several hurtful things said about her eldest daughter; it made me so angry to read her post.  I know how sensitive preteen girls can be. When I turned 13, I transformed from a skinny, petite little girl to a “plump” teenager.  Suddenly, I was no longer being called a cute little thing, but “large-boned,” which I am not, or just “large.” I did not deal well with these comments, tumbling into anorexia nervosa.  

Being painfully thin only changed the comments, so that now I was “gawky,” or”skeletal,” but not the hurt. I often joke now about being many pounds overweight, saying I recovered too well from anorexia, but in all honesty, I have not recovered.  I am still far too susceptible to what is said about me. 

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